To love is to have a warm heart.

The warm heart is beautiful image and concept to express what love truly is – how to love and to be loved. The warmth of the hearth of flames within fills us, fills our home within the church of our hearts, and becomes embodied through our every day lips, hands and gestures towards another. When our heart is filled with love, and we feel loved and we express love, and we feel peace and comfort and soothing for our soul, we feel emotionally connected, deeply connected and we share a soul’s path of kindness and of generosity. This is how our heart opens in a most beautiful way. So find your warm heart – a heart that trusts in life, that laughs and loves fully.

There are many people whom we’ll love, and each will have their own love story, and perhaps, even a life story. Not all love stories will be life stories – and there are different ingredients for who our right partner may be, such as attraction, shared values, and trust. Even one marriage can be split into few marriages, as it marries within itself many phases of life, and as the partners and visions change throughout the years – and that’s natural. We all change, and no matter how long we’ve lived with someone under the same roof, there will always be something new we can discover in our partner. The humility of this deserves to be treasured.

There will always be a new angle, a new shade, like a painting because to love is an art – an art of loving acts, intentional gestures, words, thoughts and affections. We need to be willing to re-explore and re-learn one another, and how we need to be kissed and held and cared for not in the ways we always were but in the ways we need to right now. Often times we give to another what we need to receive or be given in turn, rather than what they truly need, so it is important to truly listen and understand the other person; and be more selfless in our support, caring and giving. At its essence, love is a devotional pathway we commit to and let it become embodied through us.

Water Lilies by Claude Monet

Relationships rely upon understanding. We are all different: we have our own different paths to walk in life, we have our own unique perceptions and ways of expression, we have our own unique cycles and needs, and we have our own inner worlds – our unique inner physical, emotional and spiritual wildlands. There will always be misunderstandings and differences, and it is hard for two people to continuously feel connected, so it is important to remain in compassion, and with a patience of rhythm try to understand one another’s perspective.

The six principles to practice for a happy, loving and fulfilling relationship

In Buddhism, there are six principles that were once taught by Buddha, to be practiced in order to have happier and more fulfilling relationships in life. These are principles practiced by the monks but they can certainly to applied to all relationships in our lives, because whether it is a monastery, marriage, friendship or a romantic relationship, these are all relationships we experience. The monks live together devoted to the monastery but they are still living in a community with one another.

Relationships are meant to pave our way towards deeper love and compassion, and open us to God, so whether they happen through the devotional pathway of a monastery or a marriage or service or nature or work, or the streets upon which our feet walk every day, it is still a relationship.

We all experience misunderstandings and tensions sometimes because we are all different with unique inner worlds, and we all have different personalities. So while these six principles were initially practiced by the monks, you can apply them towards all in your life, including the relationship to your own self, as it all starts from within.

1. Physical Kindness

We need to treat our companions with physical kindness. This means that we must practice bodily kindness to another person – to show our compassion and affection physically also. Our bodies are an expression of love – and we must embody this love through our lips, hands and gestures. Love comes is various speeds and movements, such as compassion, kindness, joy, laughter, generosity, support, grace and forgiveness.

Bodily kindness may include giving physical things and gifts to our loved ones, and using our hands to help them such as washing the dishes and cleaning the house; and it can be small things and gestures as well which are all essentially meant to bring some joy and kindness to them, and bring peace and support to them also. Our physical kindness shows them physically and in a tangible way that we care for them and that they are important for us – that they matter to us and that we treasure their presence in our life.

This means do the acts of love. Share the chores, give hugs, hold each other’s hand, prepare them a meal or make them some tea when they need it. Your hands are a gift so use them to embody love.

2. Verbal Kindness

We need to treat our companions with verbal kindness. This means that we should use our lips and words to give love and express love. To speak kindly, to speak support and love and encouragement rather than hurt and devalue. To keep the sanctity of our home, loved ones and relationships sacred and protected; to never speak ill or harm or gossip or behind their backs. To respect one another.

Words are mini Gods and each day we make a choice how to make a difference in someone’s life – do we speak them into love or not. Do not underestimate the importance of words and how they affect other people, because they can leave lasting impacts.

3. Mental Kindness

We need to treat our companions with mental kindness. Mental kindness means to bring some peace, soothing and calmness to someone’s mind and thoughts. The way we can do this is also by generating kind and loving thoughts towards someone in our own minds. This means to think good thoughts for them sending them peace, wellness and happiness from our warm heart; and not to harbour any resentments or send them ill thoughts. This is one of the most important spiritual principles as well, because we must never use our minds to send another harm or obsess about another person.

Thoughts become words and actions – so the way we think eventually becomes us. If we think more lovingly, we speak more lovingly, and we become more loving; and if we think more negative, we speak more negatively, we see and perceive the more negative, we see the ugly rather than the beautiful and meaningful, and we become more negative in our actions towards ourselves and others. Keeping a clarity of mind, and looking after our own minds to be peaceful, calm and grounded is a must for every human being.

To treat our companions with mental kindness means that we are generating energy of love and kindness within and then spreading it outward – we become like the sun shining onto others, and they can feel it even if they can’t see it. We generate an aura of love, of the love that we have build and contained within us, which is now emanated outwards. Our own energy strengthens also, and we expand love even more. Whether the person is in front of us or not, we must treat all as if we are living life like a beautiful prayer – wishing them love, joy and wellness. Prayer and meditation are great ways to generate more love and kindness in your thoughts and energy field.

4. Sharing

We need to share without reservation or expectations. When we receive something beautiful in our life and abundance, we must share it with our loved ones and family. Whether it is food, or a joyful occasion, its gift is one meant to be shared – and then we can all rejoice in this happiness. So let’s say you went to a nice restaurant or had a work trip where you ate some delicious food; when you come back home to your loved ones, you can buy that food again and let them taste it also. You can also share your experiences and knowledge about new things you’ve learned and found curious, and as you share with one another you’ll feel more connected and rebuild closeness. 

Sharing build a bridge, which we can then sustain through care, nurturing, effort and trust. This opens us towards one another more, and we fall into deeper trust and love. Of course not all in life is joyful, and when we share our sadness too it matters, because we help one another. We feel good when we can support someone and be their loving shoulder and hand to hold, because we know and appreciated how they trusted us and opened up to us. Interdependence and trust are what healthy, fulfilling and long lasting relationships are based upon.

Sharing should be without reservations and conditions and expectations – just as love should be too. We share not to get something in turn, but out of the kindness and purity of our heart. When we share, we strengthen the relationship.     

5. Be Virtuous

To have true loving relationships in life we have to be virtuous. You have to have higher values and morals that you are aligned to, and when you follow the virtues you become more trustworthy and loyal, and have more integrity. This strengthens the relationship because trust is the foundation, and without trust, nothing can be sustained. Deep love requires deep trust.  

6. Have a Common Dream or Goal

Having a common dream or goal to work together for creates a partnership and also gives you both a vision to share that is greater than you. It is important to share your values and visions, and while we are all different and have different paths, it is important to support one another, but also to share together in something of purpose or service. Perhaps your dream is a house by the sea; or to have a beautiful garden in your backyard. That’s a beautiful dream, so keep nurturing it, dream it, and take little steps towards making it happen. If you feel disconnected in your relationships, having a common dream or goal (like fixing the rooftop for example) can be something that reconnects you.

When you see in each other how you put in the effort, and how together you look towards a shared one star in the sky – you’ll find that you are closer than you thought you are, standing side by side, holding one hand in another, holding on holding strong, together in life through it all. 

For more of my writings, browse through my Art of Love.

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